The Syrian Human Rights Committee managed to account for more than 17,000 political detainee arrested during the late seventies and early eighties of the previous century. The majority of those were members of the Muslim Brotherhood or sympathisers therewith. None of those detainees have been released nor has the SHRC managed to find any trace of them in Syrian prisons through its numerous investigations and gathered information. The SHRC believes that many of those were killed in the massacres that were carried out in a number of Syrian prisons, including the infamous massacre of Palmyra (Tadmur) prison carried out by the ex-Vice President Rif’at Al-Asad, in which almost 1,000 Muslim Brotherhood detainees were killed, and the mass execution processes carried out by security forces also in the infamous Palmyra prison over the course of ten years, where each group would consist between 20 to 50 detainees. Therefore, security authorities found no alternative but to close down Palmyra prison, which became renowned for the atrocities committed within its walls, in Autumn of 2001 by presidential decree, in an attempt to bury the horrific and gruesome events that occurred in all its corners, including brutal torture and murder. Whilst no news of any further releases appeared this year, a report was published carrying worrying news of the re-detention of three Air Force officers whom the Supreme State Security Court had sentenced to twenty years in 1982. After serving the full sentence, Sednaya prison authorities informed them that they would be released, only for an Air Force Security personnel to arrest them all over again and transfer them to the Air Force Intelligence prison. Reports have indicated that they have been tortured and suffered sever mistreatment . The three officers are: Mohammed Rafeeq Omar Al-Hamami, Mahmoud Ahmed Hamdi Kiki and Mohammed Bashar Al-Ashi. It is noteworthy that the Syrian Government failed to carry out any steps which may lead to revealing the fates of the missing detainees, who either died in their prison cells due to torture, malnutrition or disease or were killed in the massacres that were carried out. Indeed the Government suppresses and rejects any application made by detainee parents or families, to reveal any information in this regard. Furthermore, the authorities have failed to carry out the most basic need to inform the families of those who have died, of the whereabouts of the bodies, so that they may be registered as demised with the relevant civil authorities so that their respective civil and financial affairs can be finally settled. On another level, the SHRC managed to account for and record the names of almost 600 detainees in Sednaya prison near Damascus , most of whom are considered members of the Muslim Brotherhood and others who are members of the Arab Ba’th (National Leadership), Hizb-ul-Tahrir. There are also a few who are considered members of Communist and left-wing parties. Syrian authorities had released Haitham N’al in August of last year, after spending 27 years in prison because of his membership of the Arab Communist Organisation.
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